Katelyn Tarver has one heck of a story to tell. One thing is for sure; this Georgia-born, LA-based, singer, songwriter and sometime actress has been determinedly finding her way towards you from all corners of the music industry since the tender age of 12.
Having initially been propelled into the nation’s consciousness as part of Spice Girl-impressario Simon Fuller’s 'American Juniors', Tarver went on to release a debut album at the age of 15, followed by a tour supporting then up-and-coming, Jonas Brothers. She ended up signing with their management, which resulted in a move to LA and a side-step into acting. Recurring roles in Nickelodeon’s 'Big Time Rush' and ABC’s 'No Ordinary Family' followed, but music - the desire to both write and perform it - always remained at her core.
After parting ways with management Tarver released a new, independently-created EP in 2011, the tellingly-titled 'A Little More Free'. “By that point I'd gotten more of grip on who I was,” she says. “I realised I had to push myself and figure out what I wanted to say. I was completely on my own and I had this fire under me of like 'I'm going to put my music out'.”
The decision to focus fully back on music was soon rewarded when, during a session with pop goliath Wayne Wilkins (Beyoncé, Leona Lewis), Tarver co-wrote 'Crazy Stupid Love', a song that would give pop darling Cheryl Cole her fourth UK #1 single. Keen to keep momentum moving on her own project, Tarver went into the studio with Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson. Fuelled by the intoxicating lure of the LA lifestyle, the pair came up with the immaculate 'Weekend Millionaires' (“all the young fools, we're starving in Bel Air”), a pulsating deconstruction of the American dream. “I wrote it from experience of observing friends and LA culture, and how it makes you crazy,” she says.
Self-releasing the song initially just on Soundcloud, blog praise and remixes from the likes of Young Bombs, Skizzy Mars and Samurai followed, helping inspire Tarver to complete what became 2017’s ‘Tired Eyes EP’ - so-named because of its exquisite mix of being both cynical and hopeful. Lead by the day-glo 'Weekend Millionaires' - its five tracks were the perfect introduction to an observational songwriter who can turn the ups and downs of the human condition into hugely melodic pop gold. The BURNS-produced 'Hate To Tell You’ (an ode to dealing with idiot men in LA bars) seemed evidently clairvoyant of what would become the national conversation only a few months later. It was the Nashville-penned ballad 'You Don't Know’ however that truly stuck a chord with the pop masses upon release. “The song came about through wanting to be left alone and not have anyone try to cheer you up,” she says of the EP's centerpiece. “I really wanted to tap into that feeling of not being okay and letting that emotion sit there.” Katelyn’s tender live take of the song – now with over 22 Million YouTube views – displays thousands of comments from fans from all over the world who clearly found solace in such a sentiment.
Following a run of live shows throughout 2017, Tarver made a venture back into acting the world to feature on Freeform’s “Famous In Love” and will soon be appearing alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in HBO’s “Ballers" this coming Summer 2018. New music is also on its way - including collaborations with artists such as Sir Sly, Wrabel and RAC. The first release of 2018 will be “Never Fade”, a stirring and powerful ballad about feeling helpless in the face of someone else’s pain. “It’s saying I see you, I’m here for you, and I know I can’t fix this but I’ll sit beside you and try.”